The 22 May was proclaimed the International Day for Biological Diversity. The 2019 theme was “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health”. The theme aimed to spread awareness on biodiversity as the foundation for our food and health. The theme also celebrated the diversity provided by our natural systems for human existence and wellbeing.
From individual species through to entire ecosystems, biological diversity is vital for human health and wellbeing. The quality of the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe all depend on keeping the natural world in good health.
To increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, Tharisa Minerals’ environmental department in collaboration with the SLPs, celebrated the day in Machadam Secondary School raising awareness among grade 11 and 12 learners. Some of the topics covered were the meaning of biodiversity, the importance of biodiversity, threats faced by biodiversity as well as the role each one of us can play in protecting biodiversity. Tharisa Minerals also donated biodiversity banners, food and back-packs to learners.
Tharisa Minerals has adopted an innovative approach to reducing its workforce’s interaction with bee populations around the Tharisa Mine.
Recognising the critical importance of bees to the local ecosystem, the Tharisa Minerals safety team created a three-phase solution which prevents the workforce from encountering potentially dangerous bees, and stops the bees being removed in a manner which may impact the local ecology.
The Tharisa Minerals safety team first created “lure boxes” to attract local bee populations. The boxes are then removed by trained Tharisa safety teams and relocated to local communities who have been trained in the responsible keeping and farming of bees.
The community members benefit from the raw honey that the bees produce, and the bees are also used by local farmers to promote pollination. This solution clearly demonstrates Tharisa’s philosophy of shared value and mutual benefit.
Bio remediation soil project
Many mining processes produce hydrocarbon waste which can have a negative impact on soil and natural vegetation.
In 2017, Tharisa Minerals launched a hydrocarbon waste clean-up programme to rehabilitate areas affected by hydrocarbon waste as the first step in returning the soil to its intended state.
Tharisa Minerals then created a bio remediation bay, which facilitates a four-stage soil rehabilitation process: 1) all carbon contaminated oil is brought to the bay; 2) an oxidiser is added to break down hydrocarbon chains in the oil; 3) microbials, or good bacteria are added to “eat” hydrocarbon chains; and 4) a nutrient blend is added to return the soil to a usable state.
This process allows soil which would have been treated as waste to be used as it was intended – to support natural vegetation, to be used for crops by local communities or for remediation in Tharisa Mine’s open pit if needed.
Furthermore, secondary contamination and the mine’s carbon footprint are reduced, and local communities are able to benefit from employment and skills training as they are trained to work on the bio remediation bay.